Build­ing Right Links: BIMSTEC Am­bas­sadors' Panel

FICCI Business Digest - - Contents -

The year 2018 marks the 21st an­niver­sary of es­tab­lish­ment of BIMSTEC as a re­gional group­ing. In this time­frame, this re­gional group­ing has come a very long way. After three sum­mits in 20 years, the an­nounce­ment of the much awaited fourth BIMSTEC Sum­mit to be held on 30-31 Au­gust in Kath­mandu, Nepal, cre­ated much ex­cite­ment in eco­nomic and pol­icy cir­cles.

As a pre­cur­sor to the sum­mit, FICCI or­gan­ised an Am­bas­sadors’ Panel dis­cus­sion at the Fed­er­a­tion House on the 20 Au­gust 2018 to dis­cuss the ex­pec­ta­tions, chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties from the forth­com­ing BIMSTEC Sum­mit.

Piyush Sri­vas­tava, JS (BIMSTEC & SAARC) MEA, em­pha­sized how BIMSTEC bol­sters closer co­op­er­a­tion among like-minded coun­tries with a com­mon com­mit­ment for pros­per­ity. Se­cu­rity, de­vel­op­ment, food and en­ergy self-suf­fi­ciency, con­nec­tiv­ity and en­vi­ron­ment con­ser­va­tions are ma­jor gov­er­nance pri­or­i­ties where BIMSTEC mem­ber states have con­ver­gence. The com­mon ob­jec­tives of eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment in the re­gion, con­nec­tiv­ity, trade and in­vest­ments are cru­cial el­e­ments of the BIMSTEC frame­work.

Vi­sion state­ments by Heads of BIMSTEC Mis­sions in In­dia for an 'An In­te­grated Neigh­bour­hood: Peace, Pros­per­ity and Progress through BIMSTEC' were de­liv­ered.

Syed Muazzem Ali, High Com­mis­sioner, Bangladesh High Com­mis­sion, said that progress in the past has of­ten been slow and cau­tious. How­ever, he ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion that ground­work has made tan­gi­ble progress in con­nect­ing South Asia and South­east Asia. The chal­lenge is how to has­ten the process of in­ter-re­gional co­op­er­a­tion in the era of glob­al­i­sa­tion.

Chi­tran­ga­nee Wag­iswara, High Com­mis­sioner, Sri Lankan High Com­mis­sion, em­pha­sized that BIMSTEC FTA (Free Trade Agree­ment) is still be­ing ne­go­ti­ated even after many years after the frame­work agree­ment was con­cluded. She also men­tioned that Bay of Ben­gal although be­ing the largest Bay in the world is still the least in­te­grated re­gion in the world.

While, Moe Kyaw Aung, Am­bas­sador, Em­bassy of Myan­mar, men­tioned that peo­ple to peo­ple link­ages should be im­proved.

Chutin­torn Gongsakdi, Am­bas­sador, Em­bassy of Thai­land, spoke about how to build Brand BIMSTEC and to learn lessons from APEC (Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion) and other group­ings. He em­pha­sized that the FTA and trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion was of ut­most im­por­tance. He also high­lighted sus­tain­abil­ity as a key as­pect for all na­tions to be con­scious of dur­ing the process of achiev­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Jam­bay Yeshi, Eco­nomic Coun­sel­lor, Em­bassy of Bhutan, spoke about the com­mit­ment of the Gov­ern­ment of Bhutan, for this re­gional co­op­er­a­tion ini­tia­tive. He men­tioned that there was a need for ed­u­cat­ing pub­lic about the ben­e­fits of in­tra-re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity while at the same time pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and en­sur­ing that ini­tia­tives are sus­tain­able.

Syed Muazzem Ali, High Com­mis­sioner, Bangladesh High Com­mis­sion, ad­dress­ing the BIMSTEC Am­bas­sadors' Panel.

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